Friday, September 9, 2011

"Who Am I? +..." (Assignment forSep11)

So . . . "me"? . . . I'm Andy Pickles.  I was born and raised (far longer ago than it feels like!) in Maidstone, England (part of both the UK and Britain of course), in the county town of "The Garden of England" - the county of Kent. 
I love the picturesque villages, the country lanes (like county roads here but often smaller), and the twisty-turny 'involving' driving experience that zipping through them at - when possible - their speed limit of 60mph.  Big fun. 
However...I also love the hot sunshine; sunshine is not to be take for granted back in 'Blighty', and real heat is a rare commodity.  Mid80s is real good for summer and even then only comes in spells.  Mid90s is a heatwave.  Highest recorded ever was 98.8, til 2003 reached the dizzying heights of 100.6F.
So . . . I have to choose between picturesque with fun driving, or sunny heat.  All y'all wonderful warm Southern folks are winning, it seems  :)
I also love math and always have.  I remember getting a kick out of it at 8, 9, 10yrs old; still enjoyed it when bored sick of school from age 13-18.  For the next decade or so I would always get a buzz from anything math-related, and then I came here.  I fought through my entrance exam (having forgotten all the formulae I had to figure them all out and double-check myself over & over!), got into College Algebra (fearing I wasn't up to jumping in there after so long out), loved it all over again - and shook off the rust real quick  :)
I have throughout my life enjoyed helping others to learn whenever I am able, so when my grades prompted lecturers to approach me about math tutoring I said "Ok" (though nervous because of the sense of responsibility for somebody else's homework being accurately me!?) -- and so was born my desire to teach math at the Junior College level. 
Beyond my desire to help others learn new skills - now with a math focus - everything about this concept of becoming a teacher is new and unheard of to me.  Never considered this before!  As such, detailed thoughts about the use of technology in the classroom have not been big in my mind before now.  However, my own college career thus far has foisted tech on me so I've had to learn, to adapt, to find access (no internet at really, it's true, there are some of us! - have barely even a computer and in fact do almost all my computing work on my smartphone, and believe me: typing an essay on a smartphone (to email to self and print from a computer) is trying on the thumbs!).  Also some school-based software is not compatible with smartphones (frustrating! grrr :(  tsk.).  All in all I'm having mixed feelings and reactions about it all. 
I can see benefits, even if my mindset in this field is very small.  In some classes the presentations have been shown on powerpoint which can be very clear and often more engaging - and facilitates the lecturer emailing these 'notes' so students have access to perfect study material in hardcopy (still my favourite format!).  In math I have been introduced to 'Elmo' - that videocamera/projector machine.  This provided all the advantages of a teacher producing notes for their lecture live and interactively, on a large and/or clearly visible surface, while simultaneously able to share the very same information to a remote location, and providing a hard copy (the sheets they wrote on) at the end, for the possibility of scanning and emailing after the fact. 
However, more sophisticated efforts involving large screens that apparently are supposed to function like an all-in-one computer/large-screen (a giant tablet if you will, as they I understand are touchscreen operated) have hit choppy seas.  Put simply, the technology failed.  It would not run on the day.  This highlights the concerns that dog my mind and have done the more and more the world runs on technology - it strikes me as never infallible, and the tech must never be utterly depended upon, but rather always be an addition, a tool, an enhancement to teaching methods that are less prone to - as often seems with computers - 'their own fickle will'.  Of course not really - but it can seem that way!
My goals and what I hope to learn?  Lots of the tech-y stuff that I don't know now!  I'd like to end up less concerned by all the fancy tricks and toys that computers have now - feeling so out of date since I did - yes I did - computing courses when I was at school.  I guess things have moved on, they can do a lot more, and a lot of what I see as 'clever new stuff' has, in fact, probably become routine over the last 19 years!  I feel so old before my time!  :(

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